These impressions contain spoilers for the first episode of My Brother, My Brother and Me.
A TV show based on a podcast? Yup, that’s a thing that’s happening now. My Brother, My Brother and Me, “an advice show for the modern era” starring brothers Justin McElroy, Griffin McElroy and Travis McElroy, was originally (and still is) a podcast on the Maximum Fun Network started in 2010.
Full disclosure; I’ve been following the McElroy brothers for a long time (starting with Justin & Griffin on videogame website Joystiq) so I am predisposed to liking the stuff they do. They even answered a question or two of mine in their earlier episodes when I was at uni (they’re anonymous so I won’t tell you which ones!).
It’s not straight advice. There’s goofs and bits, and the brothers have a comedic sensibility so will often go off on tangents. Sometimes they poke fun at a question on Yahoo! Answers. This first TV episode (available free on YouTube) is about tarantulas, and whether a couple should get one as a pet.
The brothers live in Huntington, West Virginia and in this new incarnation of the show actually get out of the studio and test things in the real world. Whether or not they are successful in offering advice (in the first episode they are not), the brothers give it their all and provide much needed heartfelt small town entertainment in this troubling year in America.
They go to a marketing firm to see if they can rebrand tarantulas as something pleasant. They bring in a tarantula handler and a whole bunch of tarantulas, scaring the bejesus out of Travis. They even throw a parade without the mayor’s permission (but police are present apparently). Meeting the mayor was like something out of a Portlandia episode.
The first episode is half an hour and although the podcasts go for around an hour, I felt it was stretching for content. There’s a section called Griffinsitions (which seems to reference comedy bits from the podcast) where Griffin describes a scene that the animators then have to animate, to transition between scenes. It’s supposed to be a funny side bit, but rather than help transition as the name implies it’s more of an abrupt distraction.
Now it’s not just the brothers on their lonesome. They often bring their dad Clint McElroy into the fold, who works in radio. You can see where they got their comedic chops. It brings a nice family dynamic to the show, and a bit of breathing space to have them bounce off someone other than each other. It’s yet to be seen if they bring in their spouses, who the trio also work with on their assortment of podcasts.
Verdict: Like the rest of the McElroy Brothers work, you just can’t help but feel good when hearing/seeing them. Their comedy is joyful and uplifting and the same goes for their TV incarnation. I will check out the rest if I can somehow get onto SeeSo.
Where to watch: Seeso